So you want to know how much time it takes to learn Python from scratch?

If you are new to programming and you want to see results relatively fast, Python is the perfect programming language to learn.

But if you want to start a career in tech and become a professional Python developer, how long does it take to learn Python well enough? When are you ready to apply for your first job, for example?

Although the learning curve is different for all of us, Python is one of the easiest programming languages for beginners. It is a very elegant, simple, and flexible language. And if I may say so: much more fun to learn than many others.

In today’s post, I’ll walk you through a few key points you should consider when you start learning Python. If you want to know how hard it is to learn Python and how much time is required, you’re in the right place!

Let’s get started!

What is Python?

If you’re thinking about learning Python – congratulations!

Python is one of the most in-demand programming languages in the job market right now. Thus, if you want to start a career as a developer and specialize in back-end programming, Python is a fantastic tool to learn.

What is Python used for, then?

The great thing about Python is that it’s an extremely versatile programming language. You can use it for multiple purposes, such as:

  • Data analysis
  • Machine learning
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Web applications

All in all, there are tons of great reasons to learn Python as your first programming language. It’s fun to learn, and you will see progress relatively quickly.

So you’re probably thinking:

“I’m new to coding. Is Python difficult to learn with no experience in programming?”

Let’s take a look:

How hard is it to learn Python?

Generally speaking, Python is viewed as one of the easiest programming languages for beginners. You may even be surprised at how easy it is to learn Python as a beginner programmer.

But this doesn’t mean it’s easier to learn computer programming with Python than with any other language out there.

Because the truth is:

Learning to code isn’t just about learning a programming language and becoming really good at it. Knowing how to write Python code doesn’t mean you are a Python developer.

Instead, becoming good at Python is about understanding the big picture of how coding works and what you can do with it.

Whatever language or project you work with, you need to know how to:

  1. Define what you want to achieve with your code
  2. Break down your goal into smaller milestones
  3. Solve each one efficiently
  4. Apply these steps across any language

Hence, you must learn how to think like a programmer and solve everyday problems.

Once you understand the concept of solving problems programmatically, Python isn’t hard to learn at all. Its syntax is straightforward, and it reads a lot like English.

Having said all that, learning Python can be just as difficult as learning any other language.

It all boils down to how much time and effort you are willing to put in.

How much time does it take to learn Python programming for beginners

How long it takes to learn Python from scratch

If you are new to Python, the time you need to learn the language depends on your goals.

Not all beginners want to become professional Python developers. But everyone needs to start with the fundamentals and work their way to more challenging topics.

The most important thing to consider is:

How much time can you dedicate to learning Python?

To keep your learning curve going strong, you should spend a minimum of 1–2 hours learning every day.

I know that sounds like a lot. Your schedule is probably busy as it is.

But remember that there are no shortcuts to learning how to code. It requires dedication and determination – and nobody else can do the work for you.

Therefore, you need to practice daily if you want to see results quickly.

Now, how much time does it take to learn Python, then?

Assuming you can dedicate 1–2 hours daily to learning, you will see results rather quickly.

You can learn the basics in just a few weeks, but becoming a professional Python developer takes much longer, of course.

Thus, it all depends on what skill level you’re aiming for. Let’s look at a few different levels to get a better overview of things.

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Different skill levels for learning Python

Bear in mind that your learning curve is unique and depends on the effort you put into mastering Python programming.

Therefore, make sure to avoid comparing your progress to others. We all need time to understand how the language works and how we can use it to solve problems and build practical projects.

Let’s look at three different Python skill levels next:

  1. Beginner-level Python
  2. Advanced-level Python
  3. Professional-level Python

1: Beginner-level Python

Beginner-level Python is all about familiarizing yourself with how the language works in general.

Hence, this is where you will learn Python syntax and concepts such as:

  • Variables
  • If-else
  • Loops
  • Data types
  • Functions
  • Classes etc.

Now, how long does it take to learn Python fundamentals like these?

On average, you should prepare to spend about 4-8 weeks learning beginner-level Python programming.

If you are familiar with another programming language already, you will see progress faster. But if you are entirely new to coding, make sure you allow yourself to take the time to understand how things really work.

Remember, the more time you spend learning and practicing the basics, the easier it will be for you to master more advanced-level concepts in the future.

Thus, think of these Python basics as the foundation for all future learning. You want to cast a solid foundation for your Python learning journey – so don’t skip ahead at this point.

2: Advanced-level Python

Once you’re familiar with beginner-level basics, it’s time to move on to advanced-level Python.

These skills include fancy treats such as:

  • Database management (MySQL and MongoDB)
  • Multi-threading
  • Socket programming
  • Synchronization techniques and tools etc.

Bear in mind that you may not even need to learn these skills. Depending on what types of projects you wish to build with Python, it might be enough to become really good with just the beginner-level concepts above.

So, how long to learn Python on the advanced level, then?

These skills are highly specific and they relate to the nature of the work you do. Therefore, it’s impossible to say how much time is required to learn advanced-level Python.

Broadly speaking, you could feel comfortable working with advanced-level topics in a matter of days or weeks if you work with them every day.

Hence, if you start working on a project where you need to use a database, you can learn database management fundamentals in just a few days.

But again, you will need several weeks and months to feel confident enough in your skills to plan and finish large-scale projects using advanced-level Python skills.

3: Professional-level Python

Finally, there’s professional-level Python programming. This is the skill level when you feel completely confident in your Python coding skills.

Professional Python level means that you can:

  1. Work independently on complex projects
  2. Solve highly specific problems with your Python programs
  3. Come up with your own solutions for demanding programming problems

Here are a few points these skills include:

  • Advanced data analytics (including the necessary packages and libraries)
  • Image processing
  • Machine learning
  • Artificial intelligence etc.

These skills have one thing in common: they are sought-after skills in the job market, and they pretty much make you a lucrative candidate for projects requiring highly sophisticated Python abilities.

But how long does it take to learn Python on a professional level?

The most important thing to keep in mind is:

It’s relatively easy to learn the basics of these skills, but mastering them will take several months or even longer.

But what’s great about professional-level skills is that it can pay off, big time. Because a single developer usually specializes in just 1-2 fields, it’s challenging to find a Python developer with the right skill set.

Therefore, businesses requiring these specific skills are usually prepared to pay more, too. Thus, learning in-demand Python skills is a great way to make sure you get fair compensation for your work.

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How to learn Python step-by step

Now you’re familiar with the different levels of Python skills. You also know how long it takes to learn Python depending on what level you’re aiming at.

But how can you start learning Python?

Since Python is open-source, you will find plenty of free tutorials and learning resources online.

However, before you can start your first Python course, you need to get set up correctly.

Let’s look at a few things you need to think about:

Step 1: Choose your Python version

The first thing you need to do is to choose the version of Python you will use. The older version, Python 2, has more extensive libraries, for example.

The latest version, Python 3.8, has some practical new features that will come in handy for your coding projects.

Some online courses and tutorials recommend using Python 2. Yet, most of the classes I’ve taken use Python 3.

Thus, it’s a good idea to find your first Python course before you find and install any version on your computer.

Most course instructors will go through the pros and cons of each version. Also, they will help you choose the right version for that specific course.

For more details, check out this helpful article on Python 2 vs. 3.

Step 2: Download Python

Next, it’s time to actually get Python. Most often, the easiest way is simply to download the right version at Python.org.

How to download Python and install Python on your computer

Step 3: Choose your code editor

To start writing Python code, you will need to find and install a code editor.

You can choose between dozens of different editors, and it’s usually a good idea to test a few different ones. See which editor feels the easiest to work with for you.

While some code editors are easier to learn for beginners, they may not be the best choice for large-scale Python projects in the long run.

Thus, test a couple of different editors and find the one that you feel comfortable with. Also, bear in mind that you may want to switch to a new code editor later.

If you’re not sure which one to start with, try VS Code. It’s a great text editor I just tried out recently. It comes with the usual support for a bunch of languages, auto-indentation, syntax highlighting, and much more.

Best text editors for coding and programming - Code editors for web development 02

If you haven’t found an editor yet, check out my article with the best text editors for coding and programming!

Step 4: Start learning Python coding

Last but most certainly not least, it’s time to find your first Python course or tutorial.

Depending on how you learn best, you can choose between online courses, Python books, or in-person learning with a mentor.

If you’re not sure which learning method suits you best, I’ve written a helpful article about learning coding from online courses vs. books.

So, what are the best places to learn Python, then?

Here are a few beginner-level Python resources that I’ve tested and fallen in love with:

Python Crash Course (Book)

Python Crash Course Book

Python Crash Course was the very first coding book I used to learn programming from scratch a few years ago. If you are entirely new to coding, check it out!

In the first half, you will learn how to use Python and write code with the language the right way.

The second half of the book consists of three practical, real-life Python projects. They’re an excellent way to practice what you learned in the first half. Also, you will become more comfortable with writing Python code, and finish your first projects for your portfolio.

Learn Python 2 (Codecademy)

The Learn Python 2 course at Codecademy was my first online Python tutorial, and I can’t recommend it enough!

My favorite part?

You can start coding with Python right away! Codecademy uses an interactive text editor directly in your browser. The editor will highlight any errors in your code, too. Learning Python with Codecademy is so easy!

If you want to learn the latest version instead, check out Learn Python 3, too.

Complete Python Bootcamp (Udemy)

2020 Complete Python Bootcamp Course for Beginners

Out of all Python courses on Udemy, the Complete Python Bootcamp is my go-to favorite. Also, it’s the #1 best-selling Python course on Udemy altogether. With over a million students so far, you will be joining a massive community of other Python beginners.

Throughout the video tutorials and exercises, you will learn a bunch of valuable skills apart from the basic syntax and other beginner-level topics.

All you need to start the course is an internet connection. There are no other requirements or prerequisites, so this is the perfect place to start learning Python for beginners.

For even more top-notch Python resources, check out my article with the best websites and online courses to learn Python programming from scratch.

YouTube

YouTube is a fantastic place to start learning Python right away. I’ve written a massive guide with the best YouTube channels to learn Python programming – check it out!

What I love about YouTube is that it’s 100% free, and it’s so easy to find high-quality tutorials there.

Also, you can peruse different channels quickly to find an instructor who you enjoy listening to. Everyone has a slightly different teaching style, and some instructors simply do a better job of explaining things more thoroughly.

For example, check out Real Python. It’s Dan Bader’s super helpful YouTube channel where he walks you through Python coding for beginners step by step.

Real Python - Learn Python programming on YouTube

If you wan to explore other programming languages and tools, head over to my post with the best YouTube channels to learn programming.

Step 5: Build your first Python projects

Depending on the course you choose, you will build your first Python projects during the course already.

But remember:

The best way to learn any programming language is to use it as much as you can. You want to apply your Python skills to multiple projects of different nature for practice. That way, you will become better at solving various different problems with Python.

If you’re unsure where to start, check out my full list of Python project ideas for beginners!

How to learn Python fast: 6 smart time management tips

Now that you know where to start learning Python, you’re probably asking:

How much time does it take to learn Python – and how much time should I spend learning daily?

The truth is:

The more time you can dedicate to learning and practicing, the faster you will see results.

Ideally, you will sit down and learn Python every day.

And I don’t mean 10 minutes daily, but more like at least 1-2 hours.

Now, that may sound like a lot at first. But speaking from experience, it can often be surprisingly easy to find those 1-2 hours for learning every day.

I’m talking about time-consuming things: binging on Netflix and scrolling through social media. I know we all need some entertainment and social interaction, but it’s all about trade-offs here.

If you have a clear goal for learning Python, what’s going to help you achieve it? Will you scroll through Instagram or review some of your study notes from yesterday?

You want to come up with a realistic weekly learning plan you can follow consistently.

Find a daily time slot you can dedicate to learning. If you are productive in the morning, that’s the perfect time for practice. If you work better in the evening, that’s perfectly fine, too.

What NOT to do when learning Python

How much time it takes to learn Python depends largely on (1) starting asap and (2) having a clear goal in mind.

When you stay consistent with your learning plan, you will see results.

But based on my own experience, I know there are a few common mistakes beginners struggle with – including myself back in the day.

To help you learn Python the right way, i.e. faster, here are a few practical tips you can use to avoid wasting your valuable time:

1: Don’t rely on external motivation

If you have a friend or a mentor who will help you learn Python, they won’t do the work for you. You need to find your motivation over and over again, day after day. And it needs to come from within, from yourself.

Be aware of why you’re learning Python in the first place. If you’re not sure how to find your “why”, check out these helpful tips to start learning to code the right way.

2: Don’t learn on weekends only

Planning to learn on weekends is easier said than done. Your family, friends, and hobbies will come between you and your Python lessons, trust me.

Hence, even if you run a busy schedule, don’t think learning Python on 1-2 days per week is enough. You want to get at least some learning done every day, trust me.

When your brain is processing and learning Python daily, you will see results much more quickly.

3: Don’t waste your time planning to learn Python

This one is self-explanatory. The longer you ponder over whether or not to learn Python, the more time you’re wasting.

If you feel interested in trying it out, just start learning today. These free YouTube Python tutorials are the perfect place to get started.

4: Don’t try to understand everything

Learning Python is just like learning anything else that’s new to you. You will run into trouble and have tons of questions along the way.

I know how quickly things can feel overwhelming and frustrating, too. The more you learn, the more questions you will have.

Now, of course you want to understand what you’re doing. But try not to get stuck in detail at this point. There will be many questions you can answer later on.

If you feel like you can’t grasp the bigger picture at some point, don’t worry. I was where you are not too long ago. When I felt frustrated and confused, I found help in learning Computer Science fundamentals for beginners.

5: Don’t try to learn everything Python can do

Last but not least, make sure you know what you want to do with Python in the long run.

As we discussed above, Python is a flexible programming language you can use in multiple different fields.

Now, each field requires you to learn specific tools and techniques – and that takes time.

Thus, before you start, try to figure out what you want to build with Python in the future. What types of projects do you see yourself working with?

Say you want to become a data scientist, for example. Knowing your specialization beforehand helps you find the right packages, libraries, and frameworks to learn.

Hence, you don’t have to jump back and forth between, say, data science and web development tools when you have a clear long-term goal.

Final thoughts: How long does it take to learn Python?

Now, how much time does it take to learn Python? I hope you found some helpful details in this post!

All in all, it doesn’t take too long to learn Python basics and start practicing on your first projects. You can get familiar with the basic syntax and logic in just a few days.

As your skills improve, you will advance to more in-depth levels of Python. These highly specific skills are in high demand in the global tech job market. Thus, investing in learning a skill you genuinely enjoy working with is a fantastic long-term investment of your time.

If you can find 1-2 hours to learn Python every day, you can learn the basics in just one month. By then, you should feel familiar with the syntax and writing small Python scripts and programs by yourself.

You will need to sacrifice the time you spend scrolling through social media and watching Netflix, though. But it’s well worth skipping when you think of the career opportunities available in the long run!

The bottom line is:

Learning Python is just like learning any other skill.

You need a clear goal that you can break down into smaller milestones. That way, you can stay focused on one thing at a time as you progress into more advanced concepts and levels of Python.

The learning process is well worth your time and effort. You are about to open the door to amazing opportunities that can massively increase your career prospects. (With a skill you can learn for 100% free at your own pace!)

To get started with learning Python right now, you can find plenty of beginner-level Python courses and tutorials online.

For even more newbie-friendly resources, check out these best YouTube channels to learn Python programming from scratch.

You can do this! Happy coding!
– Mikke

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